Youth holiday programmes: Youth opportunities continue outside of Youth month

Joint Media Release by the Western Cape Government

Minister of Social Development, Albert Fritz

Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais

Minister of Community Safety, Dan Plato

Minister of Education, Debbie Schäfer:

The start of the school holidays tomorrow brings a much needed break for learners and educators across the province but it is also a period where a lot of our younger residents in the province are at risk of becoming involved in negative social behaviour, often because they are unsupervised.

The Western Cape Government is today announcing the various programmes on offer by the Departments of Community Safety, Cultural Affairs and Sport, Education and Social Development to provide opportunities that our young people can access at various institutions and with the help of various partners.

This holiday period, parents have the opportunity to ensure that their children are exposed to recreational and educational opportunities instead of being exposed to unhealthy and risky lifestyle choices. Parents need to know that the programmes on offer are aimed at keeping our children positively engaged, entertained and safe, especially in areas where they are at a greater risk of exposure to substance abuse, drugs, violence and gangsterism.

Young people have a responsibility towards their own future by making positive choices which will improve their long-term physical well-being and prevent them from engaging in anti-social and risky behaviour.

The programmes on offer across the province by the respective Departments include:

Education

The Western Cape Education Department will once again offer holiday programmes during the winter school holidays.

The aim of the holiday programmes includes providing constructive activities for children while also protecting schools by ensuring that they are used during this period.

Some of the highlights include:

SAFE SCHOOLS HOLIDAY PROGRAMME

Each district organises programmes according to the perceived need in the district concerned.

Educational programmes on offer include topics such as peer-pressure, moral values, substance abuse, HIV/Aids and sexual abuse. Other important topics covered are truancy, gangsterism and bullying.

In addition, a special programme has been designed for young women called Girls in Motion Life Skills Programme, which addresses gender violence, teenage pregnancy, gender discrimination, conflict resolution as well as life skills and self-esteem building.

We have also paired up with an NGO to run sporting clinics which cover Sporting Skills Development.

Fun activities include hiking, kayaking, board games, arts and crafts as well as drama and dance classes.

A number of stakeholders have come on board to assist us with the various educational and fun activities. The programme includes various government departments and NGOs, the City of Cape Town, Metro Police and the South African Police Service.

For more information on the Safe Schools Holiday Programme, parents can contact their child’s school or their nearest district office.

GRADE 12 HOLIDAY PROGRAMME

Providing curriculum support to our Grade 12 learners is always a priority, particularly in schools where learners are struggling in specific subjects. During the upcoming holidays, the WCED has organised holiday study programmes at 172 of our high schools. The “winter schools” aim to assist learners in high enrolment subjects. These subjects include Mathematics, Physical Science, Geography, Life Sciences, Accounting and Economics.

Many of the programmes on offer will be taught by tutors selected by the WCED. In some schools, curriculum advisors will be supporting and assisting individual school programmes. Additional resource materials have been developed to complement the lessons being presented.

The dates of each school’s programme differ. Some schools have offered programmes on specific days, while others, throughout the holiday period.

For more information on the Grade 12 Holiday Programme, parents can contact their child’s school or their nearest district office.

SCHOOL SAFETY

In order to protect our schools, as far as possible, from burglary and vandalism over the holiday period, the WCED’s Safe Schools directorate has arranged increased security at some of our high risk identified schools.

413 schools will benefit from holiday security. 56 schools will have 24 hour security whilst 357 will have 12 hour security and benefit from cluster patrols.

We also ask every community member to help their schools by reporting any suspicious behaviour in and around our schools to the police immediately.

Cultural Affairs and Sport

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport is ideally positioned to offer learners activities that are beneficial to their healthy development. We offer the opportunities for learners to spend their holiday time in a constructive manner, to learn new skills and make new friends.

The Department prides itself on its Mass Participation Opportunity and Development (MOD) Centres which we implemented five years ago in partnership with schools and communities.

The idea behind our MOD centres is to ensure that learners have a place where they can play sport, participate in cultural activities and study after school.

In rural areas holiday programmes will be offered for a two week period, from Monday 29 June till Friday, 10 July. The programmes will be hosted at select schools, of which the majority are primary schools.  Activities include a variety of sports, such as football, netball, cricket, tag rugby, volleyball, tennis, table tennis and basketball. Chess and cultural or indigenous games are also on offer at certain schools.

I want to encourage parents to send their children to attend the holiday programmes, rather than stay at home and become mischievous. Parents and learners can find out more about the MOD programme and the centres in their area by visiting: http://www.westerncape.gov.za/general-publication/mod-programme

Social Development

The Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) hosts numerous school holiday programmes through the Youth Programme in the department and via our six regional offices. Some of our programmes are held in partnership with provincial and local government structures across the province.

In the Metro South Region, the department will host sports and cultural activities in Mitchells Plain, Gugulethu, Athlone, Grassy Park, Hout Bay and Fish Hoek during the period 29 June to 11 July 2015. Some of the activities will be held in partnership with the City of Cape Town. The activities will include life skills sessions with social workers, teaching youth how to cope with peer pressure, and education about HIV/AIDS, substance abuse and other social challenges.

The Eden Karoo region will begin their programme on 26 June 2015 and conclude on 3 July 2015. Their programme will cover the areas of Laingsburg, Riversdale, Albertina, Pacaltsdorp, Blanco, Borcherds and other communities. The programme will offer job readiness exercises, debate tournaments, and numerous workshops on tackling substance abuse, crime prevention and healthy living.

The Metro East region will begin their programme from the 1st to the 16th July 2015. Covering the communities of Somerset West, Eeerste Rivier, Khayelitsha, and Kraaifontein, the various activities will include excursions to the Simonstown Naval Base, a youth crime prevention camp, and a family day event with 60 families.

The Cape Winelands/Overberg region will be hosting events in Robertson, Witzenburg, Ceres, Bainskloof, Worcester, Bredasdorp, Jamestown and other areas. The various programmes are aimed at small children, youth and parents, and will provide entertainment and educational activities such as treasure hunts, talent shows, parenting & life skills classes and sports events.

The department also provides funding for meals at MOD centres, and will continue to do so throughout the school holiday. The department has also endorsed the after-school programmes of 153 registered ECD centres across the province, which will provide care and services throughout the holiday period.

In addition, the department’s Youth Programme, in partnership with 15 NGOs operating across the province, will hold holiday programmes aimed at youth. Activities range from leadership & life skills programmes, academic mentoring, music and drama, and sports activities.

These are just some of the initiatives the DSD is providing over the school holidays. The public can obtain information on an activity and programme near them by visiting any regional or local office, or contacting the DSD hotline on 0800 220 250.

Community Safety

The Department of Community Safety continues with ongoing and targeted youth programmes and interventions across the province.

The Youth Safety and religion Partnership Programme (YSRP), currently in its fourth year, is a flagship initiative of the Department of Community Safety (DoCS) aimed specifically at increasing safety through implementing programmes targeted at anti-social behaviour and youth initiatives in partnership with the religious fraternity of the province.

With R5.8 million spent on benefiting 27 000 children and youth over the past three years already, we believe the value of this partnership between government and the religious fraternity has been demonstrated.

This year we are expanding the programme to R8 million for both the June and December holidays with programmes being targeted specifically in high priority communities.

In total, the June holiday YSRP will be active in partnership with at least 119 religious institutions, in more than 60 communities, reaching more than 11 000 youth, in high priority communities which include: Nyanga, Gugulethu, Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, Atlantis, Elsies River,  Kraaifontein, Manenberg, Dysselsdorp, Saldanha Bay Municipality, Swartland Municipality, Theewaterskloof Municipality, Drakenstein  Municipality, Breede  Valley Municipality, Overberg, as well as Helderberg.

The programmes on offer focus on awareness and prevention of drug-abuse, gangsterism, gender-based violence, child trafficking, HIV/Aids, teenage pregnancy and provide our youth with life skills development and practical safety tips. These are done through activities which vary from sporting activities, hiking, song, dance, drama and cultural activities, to movie screenings and youth dialogues. Workshops, first aid classes, basic counselling training and exhibitions are also on offer.

More information on the YSRP programme can be found on the Department’s website, www.westerncape.gov.za/dept/community-safety, or by contacting Amelia Pieters by dialling 021 483 3971; or via email Amelia.Pieterse@westerncape.gov.za .

Other departmental initiatives, such as the Further Education and Training (FET) College bursary initiative, Chrysalis Youth Development Programme and Wolwekloof Youth Development Programme receive continuous support from the provincial department with extensive work being done throughout the year in communities to provide better alternatives to our youth, better together.

 

Conclusion

The Western Cape Government is committed to providing opportunities for the youth of our province throughout the year, not only during Youth month.

Today we announce the opportunities we, as Government, are making available to help ensure the safety of young people during the upcoming holiday period.

We believe it is important that our government departments do not work in silos but collaborate on programmes that have a holistic approach to improving safety, education outcomes and access to social welfare in our communities.

However, Government cannot compensate for the role that responsible, committed parents must play in the lives of their children.  That is the bedrock of a functional society and we call on parents to take responsibility for their children’s safety during the school holiday period and ensure they are kept off the streets and away from alcohol, drugs and gangs.

We call on the youth in the province, business and society’s leaders of tomorrow, to use the opportunities available to them, to interact with government so that we stay responsive to your needs, and to make the best decision for your own future through taking responsibility for how you invest your time this holiday period.

We wish all our young people a pleasant and safe holiday and we hope they return refreshed and ready to tackle the second half of the school year.